The Canadian government has formally requested that the National Museums Scotland repatriate the skulls of two people belonging to a now extinct First Nation.
Melanie Joly, the country’s heritage minister, wrote to the museums asking for the remains of the last two Beothuk people.
The skulls and burial objects of Nonosabasut and his wife, Demasduit, were unearthed by a man in Newfoundland in 1828 and were brought to Scotland where they are now kept in the museums’s collection centre.
A spokeswoman for the National Museums Scotland said: “We have now received a formal request from the Canadian government for the repatriation of the Beothuk material currently held in the national collections. This will now be considered in line with our Human Remains in Collections Policy.”
Native American campaigner Chief Mi’sel Joe, of the Miawpukek First Nation, has visited Edinburgh to see the skulls.
In 2015, he said: “They were stolen, they were taken, they were grave robbing if you want to call it that, and it’s long overdue that they come back to where they belong.
“Maybe what I need to do is go and dig up [Robert] Burns, maybe that’ll open somebody’s eyes.”
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